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PHOTOS: Kent farmers test out prototype ag plastic compressor

Compressing agriculture plastics into bales makes for easier recycling

The District of Kent is home to an important piece of recycling technology.

Kent Coun. Duane Post recently participated in a program encouraging farmers to collect and recycle plastic farm waste.

Welding students from the University of Fraser Valley helped create the press that compresses the plastic into bales to be shipped off to Lethbridge, Alta. for processing.

Recyclable plastic waste from farms includes the plastic wrap often seen on grass bales in fields; they look like giant green or white marshmallows from a distance. The covering helps preserve the grass to feed to dairy cows.

RELATED: Agricultural plastics recycling to be discussed by Lower Mainland local governments

By compressing these plastics into bales, the plastic is easier to transport and an efficient way to move the materials along to recycling centres, where they may be reused.

According to a recent blog post from UFV, Agassiz resident and UFV Trades and Technology program technician Pierce Stoekly heard of a need for compressors and thought welding students would be up for the task. A group of students created a prototype compressor as their capstone project.

The compressor – along with a bi-annual gathering of farmers with their plastic waste – went into action at Cordine Farms near Agassiz.

Members of the Kent Agricultural Plastics Recycling Society – including Coun. Post, Gerald Struys, Dave Hastie, Holger Schwichtenberg and Jim Grieshaber-Otto – were on the scene to help test the compactor.

RELATED: Agassiz’s agricultural plastics program heading to the dump, unless province steps in

“It’s such a boost knowing that our local university is stepping up to help us address this environmental issue in real life. It’s great that Pierce Stoeckly was able to help connect us,” Grieshaber-Otto stated. “UFV instructors and students came up with a super, practical design for this prototype and, using locally donated steel, UFV students did just a fantastic job building it.”

Following some tweaks, sandblasting and paint, the compressor will soon be available to farmers in the District of Kent.

“It was a complex project for them. They had to think about how to process the material, what cuts to make, and how to fit the metal together,” Struys stated. “The fact that it fulfills a real community need makes it that much more interesting.”


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Adam Louis

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